tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe WHUT January 26, 2013 10:00am-10:30am EST
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" first, a combat win for women. then, secretary clinton testifies on capitol hill.
then, women and hollywood awards. hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, women move to the front lines. the ban on women in combat has been lifted. defense secretary leon panetta addressed the country this week, explaining his decision. >> it's clear to all of us that women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military's mission of defending the nation. >> 14% of the military's active duty personnel are female. many women have called for
ending the ban on combat positions for them for years. but not everyone is happy about women serving on the front lines. a think thank, center for military readiness released a report stating women are not equal on the battlefield and should not be forced into combat roles. manhattan institute scholar heather macdonald told me lifting the ban will ultimately hurt women. >> i don't think that this is a move that is inspired by saying, let's improve our combat readiness. this is all about women seeking a ready path up the career ladder in the pentagon and making a theoretical and abstract point about equality. i can guarantee that you that we will start seeing claims of sexual assault, which will bring in more demands for gender sensitivity training because it will be assumed that it's the men who are exclusively at fault.
>> so, kellyanne conway: will women be a valuable addition to combat forces or will they hold our military back? >> women are already making incredible contribution to the united states military and will continue to do so. but the military's first and primary mission to win wars. and to be completely as capable, as efficient and as uber ready as it be be. also don't want to put our women in harm's way. >> i think it's absolutely going to be valuable asset to the military and we've already shown that women are a valuable asset in iraq and afghanistan not just in in ii pri takes or talking to the women. but since there are no front lines they have been out there in the battlefield and they performed heroically. >> all depends on how we're defining combat. they have been in combat support role, that's great. when you're talking infantry, front line, close quarters, special operations, absolutely not. >> some people say that they're ready in combat this is basically formalizing the
process to make it official. >> i've been doing a lot of reading on this topic. physical fitness experts say, that what -- most important thing, young women now can become almost as strong as young men. it's a matter of keeping fit, keeping weight off, exercising regularly. also, 30% of men fail the physical to get in to the military. more women obviously would fail than men. but still a certain level where it's supposed to be if a woman passes, fine. >> let's go back 20 years to the shannon faulkner, she was used by the feminist union it to make a point, the poor 20-year-old girl lasted a couple of weeks. because she couldn't keep up with the physical endurance. now, if you're suggesting that physical fitness experts say it's different, i'll accept that, bonnie, except to say that we should not have the girl's
version and boy's version of that physical fit test. i want the best prepared military, regardless of gender. but i'll tell you if physical fitness if we were physiologically, not mentally, emotionally equal, if we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. you would be able to defend yourself and fight him off. >> i don't know where we need to go to that comparison but i would say this. the chief of staff actually approved the recommendation they were consulted, they had been looking at the data as everybody knows that lessons learned in afghanistan and iraq have been formed this process, that's another factor that you are citing something that happened 20 years ago is the evolution of technology in terms of the military. where is the battle front? it's in a very different place and many argue that women have already been in the battle front but because they were not officially recognized they didn't get the benefits of promotions, the benefits of retirement, lots of things -- it was discriminatory.
the other point -- >> let me ask you this. does it like -- with the marines you select to try for the marines, right? women don't have to go in to the marines, does this combat order mean any woman who joins the army will have to go to the front? >> no. it gives them the opportunity to from what i understand, but this is the issue, the physical part of it. >> what's the problem if women are choosing to go and they can pass the physical test. >> that's the issue. >> what's the problem? >> the physical test must be the same, i haven't heard them say they're going to do that. uniform physical fitness test. the brits tried to do this they found that women, injuries to women increased 50% because we are built differently. now for the .001% that may be able to handle it, okay. should we upset the apple cart as far as military readiness in
infantry units. not talking about women who are fighter pilots, good for them. women who are in combat support patrols that's fantastic, they should not -- the promotional system should change they're not penalized -- >> but infantry, front lines we're talking marines in a fox hole for a week at a time sleeping in sleeping bags next to each other or holding open plastic bags to defecate in because they're in fox holes on a mission if this -- putting -- inserting women in that environment i don't think is in the best interest of the military. >> first of all, wow. going to start one place. now i'm going another. women being blown up, shot at and killed i'm not worried about whether their sensibilities are going to be offended by having to defecate in a bag in front of somebody else. they're out there taking care of people, they're right there, right next to a man in -- not -- the other thing coming back to the history -- >> let me ask you this, isn't this real world situation. just proving what they already need to approve.
they need -- they need more people who are physically fit to go in to combat. women are 14% of the military and growing. isn't it just realization of what's already going on? >> i think absolutely it is. we heard some of these arguments that women went to west point then to the academy, very successful there. the other thing is, i trust our military leaders, i trust the joint chiefs. my father was a west pointer and served on the joint chiefs. these are people that look at that's things very seriously and combat readiness is their number one most important -- >> let me ask -- >> we need to trust them and also we have three years to be looking at recommendations or concerns that they have before any implementation. >> sexually salt in the military. are we -- of course it's real and it's huge. they are starting -- the military is -- pentagon starting to get a handle on it. i've seen different reports,
some say the conservatives say this will increase sexual assault in the military having women in combat zones. and there are others that say absolutely not. it will change the culture of the military -- >> but the anti--- >> but women more in charge. in other words, if you're a sergeant are you going to sexually assault a major? >> no. i'm not worried about our sergeants. i'm worry about our enemies. bonnie, we go to -- notwithstanding, she couldn't know why i'm bringing up sexual assault and rape. because we go in to real wars with real anti-american, anti-women enemies, thank you, who use rape and torture and will use rape and torture of women -- >> they are -- >> torture of -- >> you put electrodes on testicles -- >> i should want one of my three daughters to be one of them? >> rape is not a sexual act. it is an act of power. and -- making them more powerful
we do have a problem of rape and sexual assault within our own military. i see that as only helping because you have more powerful women. second of all, rape is not limited to women. men get tortured with rape, too. we don't say we don't have our men going in because they're going to get raped by the enemy. >> part of the equality make sure everybody has an equal opportunity to be raped? all. >> this portion denies the natural human instinct of men wanting to protect women and they have said this in studies that men no matter what, how matter tough the woman is next to them their intent to protect her in battle or they would protect her, maybe go out of the way and compromise what they would normally do so that you wouldn't have to endure -- >> what does that have to do with sexual assault? >> i'm talking about the -- women in cot ballet being potential pows the schooling of that is very real thing we need to consider. you don't want to compromise missions because then men are trying to do the right thing to
protect women. >> a lot of this is being taken in to consideration. this is -- this is decision that is taking years to occur and as i understand this will start process may of this year which will be finalized in june 2016. i am kneeling we have debate that is -- >> one more question, particularly to you two on the panel. feminism as constantly stood against war yet this is a feminist victory. this was pushed by women's rights groups. how do you justify -- how do you justify -- is it really equality? >> put women at risk. bottom line is if you qualify to be in the front, then you go to the front. >> it's about choice. >> and so you are -- women are not going to be banned from the front. >> it's about choice m. women are anti-war, some women are not so anti-war but it's about
choice and it's about equality. >> it's about equality of opportunity or guaranteeing equality of outcomes. you can't guarantee the equality of outcome. in this situation -- what that is way too great for social experiment not for nothing but when you start get to the three, four, five star level it becomes a very political position for you when you're a general. ask some of the guys who are in lower level ranks how they feel about it and i think they would have a different opinion. >> all right. let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. from women on the front lines to hillary clinton's legacy. secretary of state hillary clinton gave what will most likely be her last appearance before congress to testify on the benghazi u.s. diplomatic compound, that, where four americans including the u.s. ambassador were killed. she was applauded by democrats but grilled, even insulted by republicans, including wisconsin
senator ron johnson in this exchange: >> with all due respect, the fact is we had four dead americans. >> i understand. >> was it because of protest or guys out for a walk one night decided they would go kill some americans. what difference at this point does it make. >> kentucky republican rand paul also told her had he been president, he would have, quote, relieved her of her post endquote, for not reading a cable from the embassy sent before the attack. she responded that almost one-and-a-half million cables come to the state department each year and she does not even see most of them. in terms of her legacy how will this appearance play? >> well from, my perspective, she was forthcoming she was strong, she was humane. i was very touched by her testimony. i actually had the opportunity to watch it. is it going to be used
politically by the other side? obviously she is number one contender for 2016 not just among democrats, among any potential candidate. they are going to use everything she said. >> as they should have. i can see campaign commercials with her righteous indignant, what difference does it make? it makes a whole lot of difference to the dead americans who died over there for the people who were incompetent didn't give them the security they needed. i'm sorry she was busy off at wine tastings didn't -- couldn't take responsibility at the time but it makes difference to lot of people. and i was there, my boss is on that committee he challenged her on who has been held accountable for this. only person the guy who made random video allegedly he's in jail. she also -- where was that passion when the time came and she was actually asked about this. it was about some random anti-muslim video. she was part of the pr campaign,
mislead the american people on what actually happened she should be called to task for it. but unfortunately the media and everyone is love in hillary she'll get a pass. >> what she said was a big blunders of her very long and storied political career. it blew up on critical. there is a difference whether it's al qaeda inspired, organized, pre-planned terrorist plot to kill americans, in this case four of them. or as she put it people are walking around -- it's a huge difference. because we're fightingal kate da every day, everywhere. we're fighting anti-american terrorists for the secretary much state whoever he or she is, whatever political party to shrug the shoulders say, what difference does it make. i thought was a huge error for a woman of such innate tell generals an experience. >> this street taken out of context like shakespeare said, first thing you do is kill all the lawyers. in this case, what she was responding to attack that said,
why weren't you putting out there that this is an attack. when this was going on, the day after, the day after that. referring to a sunday morning talk show. which she was saying was, at that point what difference did it make we were trying to get control of what's going on on the ground, taking care of these people. she didn't say what difference does it make that it happened. >> okay, but the -- -- >> we need to turn to her legacy the kerry hearings have started she's on her way out very shortly. she has done so much to promote women and girls around the world, not just in this country, is that going to be her main legacy? >> it will be. >> she's been so consistent. she's a veteran of the political process and the whole thing of, who cares about what happened reminds me of this, i build it, the republicans use during the
presidential election. it i think her work speaks for itself. i don't think this is going to have any impact on it. >> not in the immediate future it won't. because, again, there's a love affair with the clintons. she gets a pass. has she done good work as secretary of state. i think me has. but that doesn't mean that a lot of the -- some of the grievances that we have that are legitimate ones as her job as secretary of state should be overlooked. >> you said grievances. what about beyond this comment, what are the other grievances? >> well -- first of all -- >> dodge fire in bosnia. >> no kidding. >> she seemed to be almost -- where was she when we were going in to libya, about her -- she was flying around earning her million miles there was no challenge in the obama doctrine what we were doing overseas. she was not really forceful enough i think in using the
position, i don't think she agreed with it because i don't know a lot of people who realized it. she was critical of obama's -- >> wait a second. >> i think she felt the whole time should have pushed back. >> but you think four years from now if she runs, as everybody assumes she's going to, that this will still be a live issue? >> i think republicans will try to make eight live issue, of course they will. it's politics. i think that she has fantastic record, she's been hailed as one of those strongest and best secretary of states that we've ever had. by people in both parties. and so, i think that she came out stronger on this. i think she handled herself well. i think it's insulting to sit there talk about making her million miles and drinking her wine. >> she was. >> when the -- >> not when our embassy was under attack. condoleezza was not in -- >> let me bring thatth back down to policy and politics. i think lily clinton is at the crescendo. she's been much more notable
secretary of state than she was united states senator first lady. >> isn't it -- any senator is not going to have the power to actually do things -- >> but, bonnie, seriously speaking she's at the crescendo of her career, will be a grandmother some point soon. and if i'm hillary clinton i don't run for president again for however many consecutive years now she's been voted the most admired woman in the u.s. above oprah, above michelle obama and others. and so she really can go out on a high note without that rough and tumble of a campaign. i sat here -- the reason i'm laughing, hillary clinton i sat her eight years ago heard it eight years ago. she was beat by somebody nobody was talked about at the time. it's not going to be easy for 70-year-old hillary clinton to turn back some democrats -- >> won't be quite that -- she'll be 68. >> believe me we always age it
out for women, don't we? >> they're not distinguished just old. >> seriously speaking there are a lot of up and comers in democratic party i don't think are going to let her have that. >> all right. we are out of time from hillary clinton to women in film. with the hollywood awards season underway, critics are asking if separate best actor and best actress categories are archaic. this year the screen actors guild dropped the term "actress" but still have different categories for men and women. many in the film fraternity say gender should not be the defining factor in determining winning characters. but the numbers tell a different story. according to a recent study females comprised about a third of the characters in the 100 top-grossing films in 2011. critics say that while in theory it makes sense to not have
gender-based categories, there are more good roles written for men and women are already at a disadvantage. tara, why do women want to be called actors? >> i don't know. i think this is as nine. really, i do. as some point i actually like being a woman. i like being recognized amongst my peers from my craft, whatever that may be. >> looking good, girl. >> thank you. i don't understand this. this whole obsession with gender neutrality is going -- it's overboard. this is one of those examples. we should -- meryl streep didn't deserve the myriad of awards that she has all these years winning best actress and best supporting actress -- >> they still want to keep the -- sag will keep it -- >> best actor, male or female. exactly. >> i hope that they don't separate the categories, go
further and say that just going to be everyone all in one because there is value to the character that women play. i think that should be recognized. >> one fact that -- when they talk to many of the well-known actress saying we need to have different categories, that women only have 30% of the leading characters in films. of course going to be more men eligible for that compared to well. >> when we have a little bit more of equality maybe they will be open to the idea. i don't think it's a critical of national -- it's of national importance, i'm not worried. >> you wouldn't have equality, because if it's 30% versus 70% you had one category, then you would come back complain that only three of the ten were women, where as that would be proportionally representative of the 30% of female roles. right now you've got 50-50 categories, women are actually ahead. i don't understand why they would want to diminish their percentage. number two, maybe these women don't want to wear these size
ear flow gowns and go and chooses cleanses just wear a tuxedo and go in to one restroom. >> what i was reading i don't think majority of women want to have one category together. they are saying just what you all are saying leave it the way it is. because hollywood is very disproportional right now with women and with the roles and in production all those other things. i have a niece who is an actress, very successful in beverly hills, has been in many films and my sister is the producer. i don't why she likes to be called actor. but she does. she's younger and i think that they just feel like actor was normally what it was to begin with because all actors were either men -- just happens -- >> let heathrow this out there. "forbes" magazine last year, late last year topped ten performers by pay under 30.
four of the top five were women. celebrities, i'm sorry. it included rihanna, lady gaga, the young blonde -- my brain is not working. >> taylor swift was number one. justin bieber was number two. and then the other three were all women in the top five. kyrsten stewart was the only actress on the list but she was on there. most highly paid under 30. doesn't this mean things are changing amongst -- >> it means the market takes care of it. they're the highest paid because people buy their records. they don't buy the records say because that's a woman and i don't want to buy a man's record. they like that music. they like that artist. look at the diversity list. tailor swift and rihanna? lady gaga and anybody else? that's diversity in and of itself. free market took care that have. >> let's put this discussion in context, this is about awards. what are they good for? in terms of talent it doesn't
measure anything. it gives themmage edge in marketing. the more opportunities people have to market their movies and make more money that's okay. let's have many more categories. short women, tall women, whatever. i don't care. >> your thoughts? >> i agree with you that the free market drives a lot of this. i also know that there's been a push over the years to have more women singers, have more women groups, to produce more records and pressure has been put on this industry. to also be kinder to women, to not discard them. >> now the young ones are outselling the men. >> free market, right. >> that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." please follow me on twitter @bonnie erbe and @tothecontrary and check our website, pbs.org/ttc, where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time.
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a copy of "to the contrary" please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.